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We chat to Nadia Rose ahead of her Melbourne Music Week performance

Words by MAEVE KERR-CROWLEY

Making a mark.

London-born Nadia Rose is as fun as rap gets, with a rebellious attitude and an arsenal of infectious hip hop beats to back her up.

Despite only releasing a debut EP in 2017, the artist has made a name for herself with witty lyrics and a unique flavour of funk rap. Her accolades already include various mainstage performances, a Music of Black Origins (MOBO) award and fifth place in BBC’s Sound of 2017 poll.

With those achievements under her belt, Nadia Rose is bringing her sound to Aus for Melbourne Music Week. Ahead of her trip Down Under, we spoke to Nadia about confidence, making award-worthy music videos, and the UK music scene.

What have you been working on recently? Any new music?

Yeah, constantly. Whenever I’m not touring, I’m in the studio and working on my next project. Or, well, next three projects. I’d say I’m working three projects in advance.

Which songs do you get the most psyched to perform live?

Quite a few of them, really. You know, some people are really good in the studio and they’re a bit worse on stage. But with me, I was always proper good on stage, and I would get a bit nervy when it was time to record anything. So I’ve always made music in a way that, when it’s time to perform, it’s gonna really, really hit.

But ‘Skwod’ is really crazy to me. When I wrote it, I didn’t think it would translate live how it does. But anywhere I go in the world, it’s like everybody can relate and get the same feeling I had when I was creating it. So yeah, I’d say ‘Skwod’.

Is your Skwod still going strong?

Yeah, we’re still going strong. There’s been a few uh… transfers, shall we say (laughs). But a majority of the Skwod is still going strong.

What do you think sets UK rap – and music in general – apart from the rest of the world?

There are so many diverse cultures, especially in London, and it’s like we have our own little mini world here. So I think by having all those influences so close to one another, it’s like a fusion of worldly greatness that we’re giving back out to the rest of the world.

What’s the most surreal thing that’s happened to you since kicking off your career?

I think that goes to winning a MOBO award. It was my first time at an awards ceremony of that level, and I was actually up for something. I was up for two things in fact and it was just like, wow.

A few people on my team knew that I was going to win, but nobody actually gave me any kind of inkling. I was preparing myself and my loser face, you know, to graciously be like ‘oh, well done, well done,’ clap, clap or whatever. But then they said my name and I had to actually go on stage and give a speech for winning best video.

What’s your process for coming up with music videos?

I mean, a lot of it generally comes from an angle of fun, because a lot of the music I make is just feel-good, upbeat music. Then we delve into it a bit more and ask, ‘how can we empower people with this video?’ We just get together and throw in ideas and pick through them with a fine-tooth comb until we get to the bottom of it. And usually they come out pretty good.

You project a lot of confidence through your music and your image. What’s the secret?

I think it comes from a point in time where I was suddenly just enjoying being ‘different’. People were always saying that I was different, and I would see that as a bad thing. But then there was this moment where it was like, ‘oh wait, no, I’m different. This is kind of nice. This means that I’m unique and I’m an individual, and I’m not trying to be anybody else’.

I think it was in that moment, with that realisation, that I was able to be a lot more confident in my skin and I feel like I could do anything I wanted. I guess that’s just oozing out of me somehow and people can see it, which is good. I really hope others can do that for themselves, too.

You mentioned you’ve got a lot in the works. So, what’s the next step for you?

I really want to get my EP out because, once it’s out, that means I can get my album out. It’s just always an artist’s dream, their debut album. It’s been a long time coming, so that’s what I’m really looking forward to.

Nadia Rose plays Melbourne Music Week on November 24 at The Hub, ACMI.

mmw.melbourne.vic.gov.au

This article was originally published in Fashion Journal 185. You can read it here.

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